Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Location: Cupertino, California, U.S. of A!
|Posted: Tue May 30, 2006 4:07 am Post subject: "Honest Democrat" meme
|This is actually a bigger problem for the Democratic Party than the GOP - Not because the GOP is more honest (obviously it's not), but because registered Democrats are much more concerned with honesty than GOP voters.
The "Honest Democrat" meme goes back a long way. I remember during the run-up to the 1972 election seeing a political article entitled "St. George vs. the Godfather". The subject was Nixon's "tough crook" image vs. George McGovern's honest and saintly image. The conclusion (of both article and election) was that the American people would rather elect the tough crook. Even though the basic facts of Watergate were public knowledge well before the election, Nixon still won. I was just a teenager then, and this was my education that many American voters were OK with electing a criminal to high office. When Nixon was forced to resign 18 months later, it was more because he botched the cover-up than for the crime itself.
My personal "other shoe" dropped a decade later when criminal mastermind Charles Keating was caught bribing Senators, including my own state's Senator, progressive Alan Cranston. Cranston had fought the good fight throughout a career which included 24 years as a senator, and I thought he was irrefutably honest. When he was caught with his hand in Keating's pocket he essentially tried to "Rovianize it" as CyberXena suggested, using the excuse "everybody in Washington does it".
It didn't work. While not accused of actual crimes, Cranston's career as a Democrat was over. GOP Senator John McCain also took money from Keating, but due to the the Dem/GOP double standard it barely amounted to a hiccup in his career. Like a Mafioso ratting out his Pisanos, McCain went on to introduce legislation to try to clean up congress; and today is still considered a potential president.
It's a fact of life that a crooked Democrat will turn up from time to time. I agree with CyberXena that the dems should be more proactive when this happens, but I'm not sure what the right spin is. One approach would be to publicly and vocally condemn dirty Dems like Jefferson, and use the publicity to explain that their outrage as a result of the much higher standards Democrats have. With the current sentiment against the "Culture of Corruption" the formally crime-tolerant voters who re-elected Nixon and Dubya may now be ready to turn the rascals out.
It may even be a good time to dump dirty Dems like RIAA-Bribee Dianne Feinstein and closet GOP-er Joe Weaselman. I keep hoping the Democratic party will grow a backbone and start fighting for real progressive values.
I can dream, can't I?